Even with precautionary measures, it is still possible to become a victim of identity theft. If you do, take these first steps:
- Call TransUnion (1-800-680-7289) and report that you are an identity theft victim and ask to put a fraud alert on your credit file. The initial fraud alert will stay on your account for 90 days. So mark your calendar to renew it after that date.
- Learn about your rights as an identity theft victim such as receiving a free credit report.
- Consider requesting a credit freeze on your credit file. This means potential creditors can’t get your credit report and makes it less likely an identity thief can open new accounts in your name. Putting a freeze on your credit file does not affect your credit score, and if you place one you can get a copy of your free annual report and still open a new account, apply for a job, rent an apartment, buy insurance, refinance your mortgage or do anything else that requires your credit report.
- Order your credit report but ask TransUnion to only show the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number on your report. Scan through it and if you know which of your accounts has been tampered with, contact the related businesses. Talk to someone in the fraud department of the company and then follow up with a letter. Ask for a return receipt as that will create a record of your communication.
- Create an Identity Theft Report. This report will let you get fraudulent information removed from your credit report, stop a company from collecting debts that result from identity theft, place an extended fraud alert on your credit report and get information from companies about accounts the identity thief tampered with or opened. Create your report by submitting a claim to the Federal Trade Commission online or over the phone. Ask for your completed complaint which is called the “Identity Theft Affidavit.”
- File a report with your local police department. Bring your “Identity Theft Affidavit” with you and any other proof of theft.